Spine Archive: Ligamentous

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Injuries in Athletes – Are They Avoidable?

Please peruse the Knowledge Center to learn more about sports-related injuries to the spine.

Ligament-related sprains in the spine often manifest as a result of sports injuries. Prevention of spine-related injuries in athletes are linked to maintaining strength and wide ranges of motion (flexibility) through proper conditioning both on the field and off. Athletes should report any abnormal pain as failure to do so increases the risk of more severe complications.

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Stabilization of Burst Fractures, Erie Co.

Burst fractures and other spinal trauma are outlined in Dr. Leone’s Knowledge Center.

Stabilizations of burst fractures may be obtained either through a posterior or anterior approach. An excessive posterior distraction force should be avoided if significant posterior ligamentous disruption is present, for fear of catastrophic tension injury to the spinal cord with worsening of the spinal deformity.¹

¹Garfin MD, Steven. Orthopaedic Knowledge Update : Spine. Rosemont: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 1997.

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Lumbar Degenerative Disease: Stenosis, WNY

Learn more about the spine in the elderly in Dr. Leone’s Knowledge Center.

Aging of the spine, as with other joints of the body, can bring on bony and ligamentous changes. Narrowing of the disc spaces and hypertrophy of the ligamentum flavum and facet joints are accompanied by narrowing of the spinal canal. Compression can occur in any of the three areas: (1) central stenosis, (2) subarticular or lateral recess stenosis, or (3) foraminal stenosis.¹

¹Garfin MD, Steven. Orthopaedic Knowledge Update : Spine. Rosemont: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 1997.

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Sports Injuries

Unstable fractures and dislocations can be managed by either anterior, posterior, or combined approaches, depending on the nature of the injury and the direction of the instability. There is no difference in surgical management between athletes who suffer these injuries and the general population. However, players who have suffered these unstable injuries should be restricted from further participation in their sport. Any fracture or unstable ligamentous injury in the upper cervical spine, especially if it requires surgery, is an absolute contraindication to continued sports participation.

¹Abitbol MD, Jean-Jacques. Orthopaedic Knowledge Update: Spine. Rosemont: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2002.

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Flexion-Distraction Injuries

Flexion-Distraction injuries result from a flexion moment that is combined with a fulcrum located at varying distances from the anterior portion of the vertebral column. The resulting injury can involve bone, ligament, or a combination of bone and ligament. When the fulcrum is located adjacent to the vertebral body, the anterior column will fail in compression and the middle of the posterior columns will fail in tension. Patients with pure ligamentous and combined bony and ligamentous injuries should undergo a posterior stabilization procedure because of involvement of all three columns and the poor healing properties of ligaments.¹

¹R. Vaccaro MD, Alexander. Orthopaedic Knowledge Update. Rosemont: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2005.